I did several important things today.
First, I drove the 2.0T version of the new Saab 9-5.
Second, I drove the 9-3x.
Reasons why they’re important will come out in the road test reports (of which there will probably be a few). What I can tell you now is that the 2.0T version of this car is going to make a lot of people very, very happy.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to drive the diesel. I had one car yesterday (the V6) and one car today (the 2.0T). The test track cars were all the same – six V6s all with the same spec level – so we couldn’t drive the road cars we were driving.
Whilst I’m disappointed to not be able to comment on it directly from my own drive, the common theme that I heard is that a base model diesels with the normal chassis that were driven by journalists lacked some prowess in terms of handling because they didn’t have the chassis improvements that were fitted to the petrol models.
There was talk of excessive body roll in the corners, etc.
I’ll talk more about this later.
We were at the Volvo test track today. Saab have their own small track in Trollhattan, but Volvo’s is a full test track with all kinds of roads and conditions simulated there. Saab has an annual contract with Volvo for use of this track and they now even have their own facilities building there.
We did a handling course and I can tell you that if today didn’t prove the virtues of XWD to the German press corps, then nothing will. It was raining all day, so we had a very wet track. Combine that with the daring of the Saab Performance Team drivers and XWD and you can probably understand why I’m about 3kg lighter right now.
Video coming soon.
If you’ve ever doubted how seriously safety is taken at Volvo, then this should give you a good idea.
There is no smoking allowed at the Volvo test facility – indoors or outdoors. They did allow Saab to set up a small smoking area near the hospitality tent, however.
Two ashtrays, and three fire extinguishers!
Saab factory tour on video?
The quality isn’t great as we were in a moving factory tour train, but hopefully it’ll still be worth seeing.
Lots of writing and processing to do. Lots and lots still to come.